Washing Machine/Water Softener Drain Issues

Help Support Plumbing Forums:

TkinNJ

New Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
,
Hoping someone on here can help me out.

I have a slight plumbing issue in the basement of my home I purchased several years ago. I recently had sewer line crack/leak on my behind the sheetrock and create a huge mess in my basement. It turns out that the previous owner moved the washing machine to the basement and his work ended up in a pipe breaking behind the wall.

I was on my way to fixing it when I noticed another issue with the plumbing.
The previous owner has my water softener and my washing mashing sharing the same 2" trap.

So I have the 3" main ABS line with a 2" trap coming off of it. The problem is that right after the trap I have another Tee with a 3" long 2" diameter standpipe for the washer and an elbow with a 12" long standpipe for the water softener.
Since the pipe for the water softener drain is much longer, water backs out of the shorter pipe for the washing machine.

Looking at the water stains on the concrete walls this has probably been leaking since day one with nobody noticing since the water softener flushes at 2am.

Is it even code for a washing machine and a water softener to share a trap?
Other than for splitting the two drains into two different traps, is there another way to fix this?

Just to be sure, I ran a snake through the trap and it doenst look like I have any clogs


Thanks for anyone's help!
 

TkinNJ

New Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
,
Here is a picture


The short stub in the middle is where the washing mashing drains to.
The thinner taller one to the right is where my water softener drains into.
Both share the same trap.
 

stevemachine

Senior Member
Professional
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
869
Reaction score
114
Location
edmonton, alberta
Yeah that isn't right, your laundry should extend higher up. What's that pipe to the left of the trap on the wye, better hope its a vent, if its not then you have another plumbing issue. But for now I'd grab a coupling and extend that laundry drain up higher. As for draining the softener into that trap, its not common but I don't see an issue really, its just that if your laundry backed up, you need a minimum 1" gap between the water softener hose going into the drain and the drain itself. It's an issue with cross connection. If there ever was an occurrence of back siphonage you risk having sewer/laundry water into you softener. Just something to be aware of.
 

TkinNJ

New Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
,
Yeah that isn't right, your laundry should extend higher up. What's that pipe to the left of the trap on the wye, better hope its a vent, if its not then you have another plumbing issue. But for now I'd grab a coupling and extend that laundry drain up higher. As for draining the softener into that trap, its not common but I don't see an issue really, its just that if your laundry backed up, you need a minimum 1" gap between the water softener hose going into the drain and the drain itself. It's an issue with cross connection. If there ever was an occurrence of back siphonage you risk having sewer/laundry water into you softener. Just something to be aware of.
Steve,
Thanks for the info.

The pipe to the left of the trap actuall goes straight up into the wall.
it's actually not for a vent, it actually goes to my kitchen sink.
I'm assuming that is a problem? I actually have a big crack in the piece that you see in the left of the picture so I have to cut it out/replace it anyway.
Since Im already working on this section anyway, what is the best/correct way to have these two drains to avoid any problems? Should I just make them separate traps?


The water softener drain actually has a gap of maybe 2-3" between the pipe and the discharge. I think that might be the only thing that was properly done.
 

stevemachine

Senior Member
Professional
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
869
Reaction score
114
Location
edmonton, alberta
Ok well if that's your kitchen sink drain its probably wet vented. So the sink drain serves as a drain and a vent. In my area 1 1/2 can handle that load as a drain and vent so that would be ok, I was just concerned at first glance. However your laundry drain should technically be 2" according to codes now a days. Now where does it tie in further downstream of that? Past the k/sink and laundry.
 

stevemachine

Senior Member
Professional
Joined
Jul 21, 2012
Messages
869
Reaction score
114
Location
edmonton, alberta
However I would say that trap should be accessible and it appears to be glued, just if it ever plugged it could be difficult cleaning the pipe. If you have room to the left I would cut close the the wye from the sink drain, put another wye in and 45 and then you should be able to make it pretty close to the existing sink drain, and then replace the p trap. If you want to you could put in two traps and one for each, that would technically be the proper way to do it. Personally for what it's worth If it was my house I'd do something similar except keep the pipe coming out of the trap the same level as the pipe for your softener, and keep the the 2" or air break between the softener hose and the drain it goes into. If you stick to the existing setup idea it's like a continuous waste on a kitchen sink, one trap serving two compartments.
 

TkinNJ

New Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2013
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
,
However I would say that trap should be accessible and it appears to be glued, just if it ever plugged it could be difficult cleaning the pipe. If you have room to the left I would cut close the the wye from the sink drain, put another wye in and 45 and then you should be able to make it pretty close to the existing sink drain, and then replace the p trap. If you want to you could put in two traps and one for each, that would technically be the proper way to do it. Personally for what it's worth If it was my house I'd do something similar except keep the pipe coming out of the trap the same level as the pipe for your softener, and keep the the 2" or air break between the softener hose and the drain it goes into. If you stick to the existing setup idea it's like a continuous waste on a kitchen sink, one trap serving two compartments.
If I wanted to add another trap for the water softener, should I get another wye and come straight off of the 3" line you see in the back?

I currently have a big Wye that comes off the 3" line, followed by the wye you see in the picture to the left that splits it between the sink and the trap for the water softener/washer.

So Im guessing that the easiest fix here would be to just make the pipe for the washer and the water softener the same height I shouldnt have any leak issues?
 

eliteplumbing

Elite Plumbing
Professional
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
,
I like the idea of having the softener connected like it is providing that you have the required air gap. I think if you had a dedicated trap that only received the discharge from the softener you could end up with a sodium build up in the trap. The way it is currently configured you would have a frequent flushing of the trap with a large volume of water from the discharge of the washing machine. Just a thought
 
Group Builder
Top